Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Book of Praise (2)

(From Jubilee Bulletin, Feb. 13, 2011)

You will notice that the convention of italicizing some of the words or syllables has been continued in the new Book of Praise (non-first stanza stanzas). This is to help the singer know whether the note is a half or a quarter: syllables set to quarter notes are italicized.

Pronouns referring to God follow the practice of the modern Bible translations we now use, which means that “thee” has been changed to “you.” As well, all the pronouns are in lower case.

One other change in the songs is that capital letters are no longer used at the beginning of every  line; rather, they are used at the beginning of the sentences. A capital letter at the beginning of every line is an older poetic convention which intrudes into the flow of thought of what is sung.

As we use the new songbook you may notice that some songs have a stanza or two less while some have one added. In such cases, either the stanzas had too much filler when compared to the biblical text, or some elements from the text were missing.

You will also notice that some Psalms were radically altered while others were not. The whole project of revising the Psalter was divided into thirds: one third was deemed good as was; one third needed  only small adjustments; one third warranted rewriting.

I think that covers what needs to be said about the Psalms. Reformed believers have been singing from Genevan Psalters for a long time. Next year will be the 450th anniversary of the first complete Genevan Psalter and today it appears in many languages. It is a jewel and we are thankful that we may use it in fresh modern English.

If you have a question yet about anything to do with the Psalms, please ask me. Next time I will write something about the hymns.